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COVID-19 pandemic: U of T Engineering stories

A device developed at U of T's Institute of Biomedical Engineering makes use of an ordinary smartphone camera to rapidly detect COVID-19. (Image courtesy Johnny Zhang and Ayden Malekjahani)

Researchers develop a quantum dot smartphone device to diagnose and track COVID-19

Researchers at the University of Toronto (Institute of Biomedical Engineering, Department of Chemistry, Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research) in collaboration with Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Public Health Ontario, and Mt. Sinai Hospital have engineered a diagnostic test that makes use of a smartphone camera to surveil and track COVID-19 patients. This finding could significantly improve the turnaround time...
Narinder Dhami (Skoll ElecE 0T5 + MBA 08) formed a coalition of South Asian community leaders to respond to the emergency situation in India. The coalition created the India COVID-19 Relief Fund to help facilitate donations from Canadians.

U of T Engineering alumna sets up funding initiative to help India recover from COVID-19

The scale of the COVID-19 emergency in India has Canadians looking for ways to help. But many are unsure where to direct their donations because of the vast number of relief efforts. A funding initiative spearheaded by U of T Engineering alumna Narinder Dhami (Skoll ElecE 0T5 + MBA 08) cuts through the confusion so donors can easily make charitable, tax-receipted gifts...
Professors Timothy Chan (left) and Vahid Sarhangian (right) comment on the ICU capacity issues in Ontario due to COVID-19. (Photo credit, from left to right: Pam Walls and Liz Do)

How modelling informs tough ICU decisions during COVID-19: U of T Engineering researchers explain

Last month, an Ontario Health official warned that reaching 900 COVID-19 patients in its intensive care units (ICU) could trigger a triage protocol, in which some of the province’s oldest and sickest patients would not receive the highest level of care available. Ontario only narrowly averted this life-or-death scenario. The pandemic has shone a light on the difficult decisions that...
The ongoing pandemic has tested Canada’s vaccine production capabilities and highlighted the need for a national strategy. (Photo: Spencer Davis via Unsplash)

With vaccines top of mind, U of T brings together experts to address Canada’s biomanufacturing gaps

The University of Toronto is bringing together researchers, pharmaceutical innovators and government partners to address gaps in Canada’s biomanufacturing ecosystem and discuss solutions for public health challenges such as COVID-19. A Biomanufacturing Training & Innovation Workshop hosted by U of T recently drew nearly 100 attendees from academia, government and industry to discuss strategies and priorities related to biomanufacturing training,...
Materials Science & Engineering (MSE) teaching assistant Crystal Liu designed, sourced and mailed 50 lab kits for students to build a mini mechanical tester from home. (Photo courtesy Crystal Liu)

‘Assemble it like IKEA furniture:’ U of T Engineering TA creates build-at-home machine to enable hands-on remote learning

In February, U of T Engineering students in MSE398: Materials Manufacturing and Design Laboratory received a package in the mail. Inside was a lab kit, with components — mechanical parts, electrical components, a printed circuit board (PCB), and tools — to build an at-home mini mechanical tester machine for their labs. “You assemble the pieces like IKEA furniture,” says teaching...
A pharmacist preps a COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo: Steven Cornfield / Unsplash)

Explainer: U of T Engineering professor Omar F. Khan on COVID-19 vaccination efficacy, misconceptions and Canada’s rollout

One year into the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccines are being deployed and administered around the world — with vaccine development, manufacturing and distribution taking place at record-breaking speed. As Canada races to vaccinate its citizens amid an increase in variant infections, writer Liz Do spoke to Professor Omar F. Khan (BME), an immunoengineering expert. Khan, whose lab designs nanotechnology devices that...
A new study looks at how droplets expelled by a cough or sneeze can break up into smaller pieces when they collide with mask material. The research underscores the importance of multi-layer masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. (Photo: CDC, via Unsplash)

Physics experiment shows potential value of triple-layer masking

An experimental study carried out by an international team of engineers and physicists has added more evidence for the value of triple-layer masking to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and similar diseases.  “Any form of mask is better than no mask,” says Professor Swetaprovo Chaudhuri (UTIAS), one of the co-authors of a new paper published today in Science Advances.   “But what we also show...
A U of T Engineering team, led by ECE graduate students, designed a UV lamp fitted with distance sensors to more efficiently disinfect contaminated surfaces. It has recently been prototyped. (Image: Jonathan Qu)

Smart UV lamp could fight COVID-19 and other diseases

A team of U of T Engineering students is using the power of UV light to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and other virus-borne diseases. They have prototyped a modular, smart UV lamp — dubbed LumineSense — that can be used to disinfect contaminated surfaces. By using sensors to monitor and adjust its light emission patterns, the device is...
A study by U of T Engineering researchers found Toronto's temporary cycling infrastructure increased low-stress road access to jobs and food stores by between 10 and 20 per cent, and access to parks by 6.3 per cent (photo by Dylan Passmore)

Toronto’s COVID-19 bike lane expansion boosted access to jobs, retail: U of T Engineering study

With COVID-19 making it vital for people to keep their distance from one another, the city of Toronto undertook the largest one-year expansion of its cycling network in 2020, adding about 25 kilometres of temporary bikeways. Yet, the benefits of helping people get around on two wheels go far beyond facilitating physical distancing, according to a recent study by three...
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Virtual reality makes unique chemical engineering lab accessible from home

For more than 70 years, the Unit Ops Lab has been a cornerstone for undergraduate training in chemical engineering. Now, Professor Ariel Chan (ChemE) is using virtual reality and 3D simulations to make it accessible to students who are studying from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Unit Ops is like medical school for our students,” says Chan, who coordinates several...

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